When you walk the streets of a city, do you ever wonder what’s underneath? Depending on the city, there might be subway lines or sewage systems, but in some cities what lies underneath might surprise you.
Duluth is the second biggest city on the shores of Lake Superior, and it’s considered a seaport city. It has a population of approximately 86,000 people, but for many of the Minnesotans in Duluth, they walk the streets completely unaware of what incredible things lie beneath.
The big cities of Europe are commonly known for what exists underneath them i.e. the Catacombs of Paris, vaults of Edinburgh, and the London Underground. One wouldn’t expect Duluth to have a similar underground network, but during the development of the city, several streams became connected to the city’s infrastructure. This was a common occurrence for cities growing larger and expanding.
Much of the downtown buildings in Duluth are connected by these series of underground tunnels, but they remain relatively unknown to many except when massive floods occur like in 1972 or 2012. Normally, people go about their business and leave these tunnels alone, but exploring them is a fascinating experience!
First, we have the Miller Creek Drain although it looks eerily spooky in this shot, it’s size and design is rather impressive to look at.
If you love intricate stonework, look no further than the Chester Creek tunnel. Clearly, some very talented masons worked on this tunnel during construction. This is the entry point for the Chester Creek tunnel and just about where it dips beneath Lake Superior and doesn’t re-emerge until it reaches the lower side of the I-95.
The Brewery Creek Drain began in Duluth Heights, and it serves to drain a shallow lake and former wetlands along with the Buckingham Creek. The area drained is now a retail development near Arlington Avenue and along Central Entrance.
The Buckingham Creek Drain is incredibly cavernous from the stone blasting that took place in it. Looks like it would be a great place to explore!
Some of the tunnels have a lot character in their design, and it’s clear why photographer Dan Turner was inspired to take all of these pictures. If you enjoyed these shots, make sure to check out the rest of Turner’s “Substreet” collection here. He explains more about the shoot and has a few more photos to share.
If you’re looking for your next adventure and live near Minnesota, it might be time to take a road trip to Duluth and bring your boots! We recommend researching some good safety practices before starting to explore, but we’re sure you’ll appreciate the character of the tunnels and get some good photos of your own!